Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Prince Hall Grand Lodge Building in Massachusetts Faces Foreclosure

A foreclosure auction has been scheduled for the Prince Hall Grand Lodge building in Dorchester, Massachusetts on Thursday, April 17, according to a legal notice
The 30,000-square-foot building is located on about one acre at 18-24 Washington St. The auction will be held on siteThe nonprofit organization took out a $300,000 mortgage in 2006 from Sovereign Bank, now Santander Bank. The note was recently sold to Northborough Capital Partners when the group failed to make payments.Shectman Halperin Savage LLP, the law firm representing the lender,and Lodge officials did not return calls seeking comment.On its website, the Prince Hall Grand Masonic Lodge calls itself the oldest black fraternal organization in North America.

A letter has been sent out to Prince Hall members, but it seems like awfully short notice. It reads as follows:

Greetings Prince Hall Family, Friends and Supporters;

May this email find you and yours in good health and spirit. As you may or may not know, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts is currently dealing with a serious crisis. Our Masonic Temple and adjacent land, located at 24 Washington Street Dorchester, Massachusetts is scheduled to be auctioned on April 17, 2014.

Like several other area organizations and churches we are not exempt from the negative effects of a bad economy. In our case and due largely to the actions of our past mortgage holder (Sovereign Bank), we are currently faced with foreclosure on our beloved Grand Lodge Temple.

In order to resolve this terrible crisis, your help in the way of monetary donations and prayers is necessary. If you would like to help the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts (Where Prince Hall Freemasonry Worldwide Began) in this hour of great need with a tax-deductible donation, please click on the link. "

Click Here toDonate

Please donate whatever you can and please don't be modest. No donation is too big or small. Every act of generosity is needed and appreciated. Just click on the above link and make your donation using your PayPal account, credit or debit card.

Whether you are able to make a donation or not, please forward this plea to everyone you know. We can make it through these hard times with your help and generous donation.

If you prefer to use a check or money order, please make it payable to; The Prince Hall Foundation, Inc. and put "Building Relief Fund" in the memo section and send it to:
Prince Hall Grand Lodge
24 Washington Street
P.O. Box 227
Boston, MA 02121

No act of kindness however large or small will go unrecognized. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support. 

Sincerely, M.W. Compton R. Jones Grand Master
The Prince Hall Foundation is an IRS 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization

Click Here to Donate

Here is the link again. It worked for me:

Codes & Conspiracies: Freemasons Sunday at 10PM on AHC.

Alice and I were interviewed last April for onscreen segments of a show that is finally airing this next week. Even the title hadn't been picked at the time. Well, it finally airs this Sunday on the American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel) at 10:00 PM. "Codes and Conspiracies: Freemasons" is a title only a mother could love.

For our parts, we were called in to discuss the role of Freemasonry during the American Revolution. They had me walk the procession route from Gatsby's Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia, down to Jones Point where the Masons laid the first cornerstone of the District of Columbia. It was nice to see the Parks Department has added some signage to the lighthouse explaining the significance of the place, along with a pane of glass which allows you to see the boundary marker hidden in the seawall - something you used to have to hike down into the flotsam of the Potomac River to get to.

I believe (it's been a year) that the director told me that Akram Elias, PGM of the District of Columbia, also appears on the show.

I make no promises about the content of the show, apart from our short parts. And even that, God knows what the editorial process did to us.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Masonic Society 5th Anniversary Jewel Promotion Ends 4/30/2014

For those of you who have not yet joined The Masonic Society, the promotion in which you receive the beautiful TMS 5th Anniversary commemorative jewel free of charge just for becoming a member will end on April 30. All membership applications sent by mail must be postmarked no later than April 30. If you register online, you must do so prior to midnight on April 30. The jewel will remain available in the TMS store for $12 (including shipping) for members who have not joined during this promotion period.

To join, go to

Thursday, April 03, 2014

GL of Virginia Prohibits Transgendered Petitioners

On March 20, 2014, Wayne S. Flora, Grand Master of Virginia, issued the following edict (as well as change in petition format) governing rules for membership of transgendered persons in lodges holden under the Grand Lodge of Virginia:

Freemasonry traditionally being a Fraternity of good men, no person shall become or remain a Mason who does not continue to remain both physically and legally a male or who does not continue to present and conduct himself as such. 
The petition for membership now requires members to avow that they were born a male and continue as a male.

To my knowledge, this is the first time a U.S. Grand Lodge has dealt with the issue of transgendered members. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

Read the whole edict here.

See also the blog entry by Jason Richards.

H/T Bill Hosler

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wilkes-Barre, PA Temple Catches Fire

The Masonic Temple in Wilkes-Barre. Pennsylvania caught fire on Tuesday, causing major damage to the historic building. Fire officials have not yet determined the cause.
A fire Tuesday afternoon damaged the Masonic Temple on North Franklin Street.
The cause is under investigation and a fire inspector was on scene around 2 p.m., roughly an hour after the alarm came in, said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.
“It’s very preliminary. The fire started about an hour ago. We just got it under control,” Delaney said as smoke still wafted from the four-story brick building.
“We’re still having a tough time getting all the residual heat and smoke out of the building,” he said.
“It’s like a maze inside there with multiple, multiple rooms in there,” Delaney said. “A lot of the smoke and heat got trapped inside of the building, that’s why it took a long time to extinguish. But it’s under control. The fire’s out. We’re just mopping up right now.”
Three Masonic Lodges use the building, but it was unoccupied at the time of the fire. A meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night.
Delaney said there was power to the building and firefighters arrived to find heavy fire on the first floor. Black smoke billowed from the front door and windows.
Firefighters broke some windows, but overall they fought the fire in a manner to protect the historical value of the building. “We really tried to limit the damage to the building,” Delaney said.
Police closed North Franklin street between West Union and West Market streets during the fire. A steady stream of people walked by and some stopped to take photos.
A member of one of the lodges, who did not want to give his name, said the building is insured. He said there is a lobby on the first floor. Along the sides are five rooms and restrooms. A kitchen is located in the rear. There are meeting rooms on the second and third floors. The fourth floor is vacant.
“The building is so big we still had to do a search of the entire building, every single room of the building to make sure there was no one in there,” Delaney said.

"The Geometry of Mystery: Secret Societies, Ineffable Names, & Ancient Egypt"

Please Join Signet Chapter Royal Arch Masons For
"The Geometry of Mystery: Secret Societies, Ineffable Names, & Ancient Egypt"
Presented by guest lecturer
Adam G Kendall
Archivist of the Grand Lodge Library & Museum
Monday April 7th • 7.30pm
Social 6pm - Dinner 6.30pm - Stated Meeting & Lecture 7.30pm
Dinner is $12 for Non-Members & FREE to members of Signet Chapter
Van Nuys Masonic Center
14750 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91405-2214
This is a Tiled Event - You Must Be a Royal Arch Mason to attend
Reservations required - RSVP to

H/T David Williams

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

GL of Connecticut Encouraging Corporate Partnerships to Refurbish Older Temples

The Grand Lodge of Connecticut has instituted a wonderful parnership program with corporate sponsors to help rejuvinate older lodge halls. From the Tao of Masonry: (unless this is just one of Bro. Accousti's April Fools pranks)

One of the items that is being overlooked in the agenda for the upcoming Grand Lodge of Connecticut Annual Communication is a bold initiative to help finance the rejuvenation of the state’s older lodge buildings, a plan that may be the first of its kind in the North America, and which may be the key toward not only rejuvenating the buildings, but revitalizing the lodges, themselves.
Like most of the areas of the northeastern US, Connecticut has a number of older lodge buildings, many of them built in the early 1900s or even before. While many of these buildings are located in the center of their respective towns, these historic buildings were often poorly maintained, and the funds for much needed capital improvements were often neglected by the members from the 1960s until today. Indeed, it’s not unusual for lodges to lack air conditioning or updated heating systems, proper kitchen and dining areas, or in some cases, even modern bathroom facilities.
“While some members of the fraternity might see their facilities as ‘quaint,’ the sad fact is that many members of the public, including potential members, see them as ‘antiquated,’ ‘dated,’ or just plain ‘old,’ and it becomes a real turn-off,” said Grand Master Simon LaPlace. “Unfortunately, many of the lodges were short-sighted and skimped on saving money for improvements, and with the lack of new members, they simply can’t afford to put the necessary thousands of dollars into building improvements, and many of them are just barely able to keep up with the basic maintenance. This is why we are introducing this plan, which should help them to raise the money to bring the facilities up to date.”
The new program, called the Building & Organization Allied Sponsorship, or BOAS, allows lodges to partner with local or even national businesses and organizations in order to have a committed source of revenue that would be put toward building and grounds improvements, and updating the facilities inside the buildings. Lodges could look forward to new or updated lighting, handicap access, internet and wifi service, and cable tv, as well as kitchen and dining equipment, general upkeep, and yes, even more modern bathroom facilities.
When questioned about the criticisms that BOAS would lead to Freemasonry as being seen as “too public,” the Grand Master dismissed the concerns. “Corporate sponsored venues have been around for years,” he said. “A few large corporations put their names on ball fields, and nobody bats an eye. But a business puts a name on a small, little lodge, and everyone loses their minds.” Indeed, a quick survey showed that most people could not remember the previous names of the Xfinity Theater or the Comcast Theaters, although most people also did not remember that Toyota now sponsors the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford — ironically, the town in which the Grand Lodge of Connecticut is located.
A large concern for some is that the Connecticut Grand Lodge gets a percentage of the BOAS funds, and will start pressuring all of the state lodges or buildings to find businesses to partner with, or worse, may penalize some of the lodges for not doing so. “Grand Lodge needs to make money, too,” responded Grand Master Simon LaPlace. “None of those guys complaining think twice about spending money on a mocha latte several times a week; but if Grand Lodge asks for a five or ten dollar per member increase, suddenly we’re the evil empire. Sure, times are tough, but we’re talking about giving up the equivalent of a couple of coffees and donuts in a year.” He looked around and added “And believe me, many of our brothers could certainly afford to go without a donut once in a while.”
Not surprisingly, not all of the Masons are happy about this program. “It’s nothing more than plain, old Grand Lodge greed. They don’t actually care about the lodges, they just care about getting their cut of the action.” said one Past Master who refused to be named. “That’s not what we used to do back in the old days,” said another, “Back in 1968, when I was Master of the lodge, when we needed money, the wives around the lodge would help hold a bake sale, and we hit everyone with a ten dollar special assessment. Why, we once raised over a thousand dollars, which was enough to put on whole a new roof!”
That’s not the attitude voiced by everyone, however. Many more members, and not necessarily the younger ones, seem to approve of BOAS. Several lodges around the state have already been testing the idea, and indeed, at least one partnership is in the final stages. “We have been fortunate to partner with a large, nationally recognized corporation that is known for its aggressive community outreach,” said a District Deputy from the 4th District. “We are just finalizing some details, like the new sign placement and promotional spots, and within a few weeks everybody should be seeing some big changes at the new McDonald’s Masonic Center of New Haven.”
For the rest of the article, go to the Tao of Masonry.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Wilmington, PA Lodge Masonic Symposium Sept. 20

Wilmington Lodge No. 804 in Wilmington, Pennsylvania will hold its first annual Masonic Symposium on Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 9:00AM until 5:00PM. They have a total of four Masonic Speakers that are experts in their respective areas. These brothers are Shawn M. Gorley, Master Masonic Scholar and author of "Freemasonry Defined" and writer for "The Working Tools Masonic Magazine", Master Masonic Scholar Adam T. Osman and author of "Earning Freemasonry", Charles Harper Sr. author of "Freemasonry in Black and White and Juan Sepulveda owner of the well known podcast "The Winding Stairs" as well as a member of the Youtube Masonic show "The Masonic Roundtable. Brother Sepulveda is also a prominent artist specializing in Masonic art.
For the price of admission you get three meals starting with a breakfast of donuts coffee and juice. A lunch of pulled pork and choice of sides and a full dinner, not your typical after meeting cold cuts! 
This will be a day of highly entertaining speakers that will fully engage with the audience and encourage Q&A and open discussion. The respective speakers have a wealth of experience in giving presentations and talks and have all done so all over the country. This will be the first time all of them will be together under one roof at the same time and assures to be not only educational but fun. There will be several breaks throughout the day and the speakers will have their books and artwork available for purchase and signing.
The seating is limited to 100 people to keep it comfortable and to also encourage visitation and meeting Brethren from all areas that will be in attendance. Unfortunately they cannot offer refunds, once a ticket is purchased the sale is final, this is because of the catering so that they know exactly how much food to bring without running short.
For those of you that may be traveling great distances please look for motels in the Hermitage, Sharon and New Castle Pennsylvania areas. If there are any further questions please do not hesitate to contact the host Shawn M. Gorley at 724-730-1812 or email at and include symposium in the subject area.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

GL of Kansas Adopts Background Checks

Michael Halleran, the new Grand Master of Kansas, reports that Kansas adopted a new resolution calling for mandatory background checks of new members at its annual meeting on March 21st. This is after two years of the program being done by edict. The previous two years showed that the program did not scare off potential members or affect membership in any way. This is a welcome change and one that should be adopted nationwide.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Man Tries To Burn Down Grand Lodge in Boston

From CBS in Boston:

A man was arrested for allegedly trying to burn down the Masonic Temple Lodge on Tremont Street in Boston Monday night.
Boston Fire officials say the man entered the building and sprayed a liquid onto some furniture and attempted to ignite it. 
He was detained by a security officer and then arrested by Boston Police.The man, who was not identified, will be charged with attempting to burn a place of worship.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Boynton Lodge Esoteric Research Group Presents W. Kirk MacNulty

Renowned Masonic author W. Kirk MacNulty will speak at the Boynton (Florida) Lodge Esoteric Research Group on Saturday, April 12th, 2014. He has been a Freemason for over forty years, and is a member of Lodges in American and Great Britain. His publications include Freemasonry Symbols, Secrets, Significance; Way of the Craftman: A Search for the Spiritual Essence of Craft Freemasonry and Freemasonry: A Journey through Ritual and Symbol. He is  Friar No. 94 of the Blue Friars.

The day will be divided into four sessions: an Introduction to the Symbolism of the Craft Degrees, followed by Symbolism of each of the Craft degrees. Lunch is included in the price of the ticket. The sessions will end at 3:00 PM.

The seminar is only open to Master Masons, and you must present a valid Lodge dues card and ID for admission. Suit or jacket with a tie are also required. Tickets are $30 each, and there is limited seating available. As of this writing, only 37 seats remain, so reserve now.

The event will held at Boynton Lodge No. 236, located at 2701 Quantum Blvd., Boynton Beach, Florida.

For more information and ticket purchases, see here.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Masonic Society Welcomes 2500th Member

This morning Secretary Nathan Brindle of the Masonic Society entered our 2,500th new member since we began on May 1, 2008. Welcome member #02500, Bro. Wayne Harrison!

This doesn't mean we have 2500 current members. Like any other organization, we've have attrition over nearly 6 years of existence. But we do have just under 1300 members as of today! Why not join us and help us keep growing?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Grand Lodge of Ireland


Take a photographic tour of the Grand Lodge of Ireland here. A magnificent building! Freemasons' Hall, Molesworth Street in Dublin. The building is open for tours Monday-Friday, at 2:30pm, or by appointment, by calling 01-6761337.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pleiades Lodge #478 Masonic Education Symposium April 26th

The 1st Annual Pleiades Lodge No. 478, 2014 Masonic Education Symposium will be held April 26, 2014. 

Anthony Mongelli, author of The Craftsman Symbology, Charles M. Harper Sr., author of Freemasonry in Black and White, Robert Herd, author of The Initiatic Experience, and keynote speaker, Mir Omar Ali, Past Grand Chaplin and current member of the Board of Grand Examiners of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Illinois, all in one event! 

Education, Festive Board and Fellowship, lunch and Festive Board for only $20.00!!!!! 

8 a.m.- Coffee and Donuts
9 a.m.- Welcoming by Worshipful Brother Stephen Valle of Pleiades Lodge no. 478 
9:15 a.m.- Bro. Anthony Mongelli and The Craftsman Symbology 
10:30 a.m.- Bro. Charles M. Harper Sr. and Cultural Relativism in Freemasonry 
11:45 a.m. - Lunch in Dinning Hall 
12:30 p.m. - R.W.B. Robert Herd Leadership Seminar 
4:p.m. - Festive Board with Keynote Speaker: R.W.B. Mir Omar Ali 

Limited Seating Event!!! Only 100 tickets to be sold!!!
All authors are featured writers for the Living Stones Magazine, with Robert Herd being the Owner/Editor. The magazine can be found at

Tickets are limited and going fast. For tickets and general information:

Pleiades Lodge #478 is located at Westchester Masonic Temple, 10210 Canturbury Street, Westchester, Illinois.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Masons Win Legal Battle Over Detroit Temple Ownership

The Masons have won their legal battle over ownership of their one of a kind Temple building.

The Masons have won their legal battle over who owns Detroit’s Masonic Temple, the largest building of its kind.

“We won! All counts related to any claims of ownership of the Masonic is over. It it is clearly owned by the Masons,” said Bradley Dizik, special adviser to the Masonic Temple’s board of trustees.

Dizik was referring to a Tuesday ruling by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Leslie Kim Smith that dismissed claims by a former management company they had an ownership stake in the institution, according to Dizik, who is attorney and a consultant in the case.

The Masonic Temple Association of Detroitwhich owns the Masonic Temple, booted the management company, Halberd Holdings, out of the facility in 2012. The association claimed, among other things, that Halberd was ruining the temple’s reputation by not paying its bills and hiring felons.

It came at time when the 1,037-room facility faced a financial crisis. The News revealed in April the Cass Corridor institution owed Wayne County $152,000 in back taxes. It faced being sold at the annual auction of foreclosed properties. Bidding for the 14-story Gothic structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, would have started at $160,000. The Mason’s claimed that it was never in danger of being sold in foreclosure and they had worked out a deal with county officials.

But the news motivated Detroit-born rocker Jack White to step forward, out of the blue, and pay the tax bill.
It also sparked East Coast attorney Dizik, a third-generation Mason originally from Farmington Hills, to move to Detroit to help get the 88-year-old building back in order. Dizik helped broker a deal with DTE Energy Co.,which had threatened to shut off the power because of a $300,000 overdue bill. That bill has already been greatly reduced and should be paid off by the end of this year, Dizik said.

The biggest threat was Halberd’s ownership claim.

Some of the investors that once made up Halberd have split up, including former Detroit Lions star Mel Farr and Donald Foss, founder of Credit Acceptance Corp, according to court documents. The two remaining principals are Michael Smith, a Mount Clemens attorney, and New York filmmaker Matthew Mazer.

Halberd’s attorney, Norman Yatooma, could not be reached for comment.
There remain some claims and counter-claims between Halberd and the Masons, all of which should be resolved by end of summer, attorneys for the Masons said Tuesday.

The best is yet to come for the Masonic, Dizik says.

The Masonic is now in the heart of the planned 45-block entertainment district that is to be anchored by the new home for the Detroit Red Wings. That arena will be built across the street from the Masonic Temple.

Late last year, the Masons hired The Crofoot to help book shows at the facility, which has resulted in more concerts. Upcoming shows include comedian Katt Williams, the local rocker Rodriguez and singer Lana Del Rey.
Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN

From The Detroit News:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Volume 2 of Bound Short Talk Bulletins Available For Preorder

The Masonic Service Association of North America is embarking on a monumental publishing effort. The MSA has published a Short Talk Bulletin virtually every month since 1923. Now, they are assembling these gems of Masonic education into bound volumes, freshly edited and typeset. It is now  possible to own complete bound sets on subjects that range from Masonic history, symbolism, philosophy and biographies.

Volume 2 (1938-1952) of five projected volumes will be available soon, featuring an index and more than 700 pages. Subsequent volumes will be published every 9-12 months. All profits will be used to support MSA activities. The books are edited by Brother S. Brent Morris, editor of the Scottish Rite Journal. It follows the successful launch last year of Volume 1 of the series. When the series is completed, all 90 years of Short Talk Bulletins will be published in this attractive, re-edited, re-typeset, and indexed version.

Three options are planned.

The Master Mason Edition will be bound in linen fabric with sewn signatures. Price: $90 + $8 shipping (Pre-publication price: $60 + $8 shipping if ordered before September 1st, 2013).

The Lodge Edition is identical to the Master Mason edition, but lodges may order 1 copy per lodge for $50 + $8 shipping, only if paid for with a Lodge check. Must be ordered before September 1st, 2013.

The Grand Master Edition is bonded leather binding, with gilt edges, and satin book marks, and autographed. Price is $150 + $8 shipping. Pre-publication price is $115 + $8 shipping if ordered before September 1st, 2014.

Shipping costs are for U.S. orders only. Please contact the MSANA for non-U.S. orders.

Volume 2 will be printed in Fall 2014 for delivery before Christmas.

Order online here

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Signet Chapter Royal Arch Masons

Please Join Signet Chapter Royal Arch Masons For The Geometry of Mystery: Secret Societies, Ineffable Names, & Ancient Egypt
Presented by guest lecturer Adam G Kendall, Archivist of the Grand Lodge Library & MuseumMonday April 7th , 7.30pm
Social 6pm - Dinner 6.30pm - Stated Meeting & Lecture 7.30pm
Dinner is $12 for Non-Members & FREE to members of Signet ChapterVan Nuys Masonic Center
14750 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91405-2214This is a Tiled Event - You Must Be a Royal Arch Mason to attend
Reservations required - RSVP to

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium in Cincinnati 8/15-17, 2014

The Fifth Annual Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium will be held at the Cincinnati Masonic Center on August 15 – 17, 2014.  This national symposium will feature speakers and workshops focused on enabling Masons and Lodges to improve their Masonic experience.

This year's Symposium will be jointly hosted by four Lodges:  Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 (IN), Caliburn Lodge No. 785 (OH), Arts & Sciences Lodge No. 792 (OH) and Lodge Ad Lucem No. 812 (PA).  They represent the full spectrum of observant Lodges - from European Concept to Traditional Observance. 

The support of the Grand Lodge of Ohio and the Scottish Rite Valley of Cincinnati are gratefully acknowledged!

WHEN:  AUGUST 15-17 2014
WHERE:  Cincinnati Masonic Center, 314 East Fifth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio  45202

Registration is $100.

For more information, go here.

Midwest Masonic Education Conference April 11-13, 2014 in Cedar Rapids, IA

The 2014 Midwest Masonic Education Conference will be held at the Grand Lodge of Iowa Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa April 11-13, 2014. Registration Friday 1 pm to 5 pm Library and Museums Tours, Friday 9 am to 5 pm Library and Museums Tours, Friday 9 am to 5 pm Scottish Rite Center Social Hour Friday 5 pm to 6 pm, Scottish Rite Center Grand Opening Friday 6 pm Scottish Rite Center Banquet to follow.
Featured speakers include:

  • Andrew Hammer- Past Master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge 22 at Alexandria, VA
  • Mark Tabbert- Director of Collections at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA
  • William R. Krueger- Assistant Librarian and Curator at the Iowa Masonic Library
  • Patrick Craddock- Owner of the Craftsman’s Apron
  • Robert P. Conley- Past Grand Master of Michigan (2000-2001), and current Director of Member Services for the Grand Lodge of Michigan
  • George J. Harrison- Past Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge of Iowa (2012-2013) and organizer of the Iowa Masonic Educational Programs
  • S. Brent Morris- Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry and other titles, and Editor of the Scottish Rite Journal

For more information, contact the Iowa Masonic Library and Museums at 319-365-1438 or

Tennessee Masons Look to Restore Historic Hall

From the Associated Press:
A group of Freemasons is trying to restore a Masonic Temple in Franklin, Tennessee that they say was the first three-story building constructed in Tennessee. Craig Feldner, who is leader of Hiram Lodge No. 7, told The Tennessean newspaper that he hopes the building’s importance to the city and to U.S. history can drum up enough interest to save it. The temple is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the place where President Andrew Jackson met with Chickasaw leaders in 1830 and the Native Americans signed a treaty giving up their lands. “We think there’s as much history here as the Carter House or Carnton Plantation,” Feldner said. The Freemasons are trying to raise about $4 million to renovate the entire building, including the third floor, which has been declared off-limits by city inspectors due to concerns about structural soundness. “Our goal with this renovation is not to do patchwork but to make it last another 200 years,” Feldner said. If the Masons can restore the building in Franklin, they hope to change the perception of Freemasons as secretive and encourage more people to learn about the history of the meeting hall.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

UCLA International Conference on Freemasonry March 22

The Institute of Masonic Studies and the History Department at the University of California, Los Angeles will host the Third International Conference on Freemasonry on March 22, bringing together a panel of prominent Masonic scholars covering unique perspectives on Freemasonry, Aesthetics, and Civil Society.
Open to the public, this event seeks to educate and inspire scholars of the craft with discussions exploring the history of how Masonic aesthetics have impacted architecture, politics, and international societies.
This year's presentations include:
  • Humanity’s Nation: Freemasonry and German Civil Society before 1914/ Stefan-Ludwig Hoffman, Ph.D. / Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  • Thanks to Mozart: Cultivation and Aesthetics among Women Freemasons in Italy / Lilith Mahmud, Ph.D. / Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies and Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
  • Solomon’s Temple in America: Masonic Architecture, Popular Culture, and Biblical Imagery, 1865-1930 / William Moore, Ph.D. / Associate Professor, American Material Culture, Boston University
  • Native American Indian Freemasonry: From Joseph Brant to the 21st Century / Joy Porter, Ph.D. / Professor, Indigenous History, The University of Hull (England)
  • Tuesday, February 04, 2014

    Has the Voynich Manuscript Been Deciphered?

    A U.S. botanist studied the plants illustrated in the Voynich manuscript, pictured. He claims at least 37 of these 303 plants would have grown in Central America during the 15th and 16th century and believes the text is, therefore, written in the Aztec language of Nahuatl
    For decades, researchers have been trying in vain to decipher ancient texts written on the Voynich manuscript - yet they may have been looking for inspiration in the wrong place.

    A U.S. botanist studied illustrations of the plants throughout the 15th century book and pinpointed a number of them to the Central American region now known as Mexico.

    Dr. Arthur Tucker claims at least 37 of the 303 plants would have grown in the region during the 15th and 16th century and believes the text is, therefore, written in the Aztec language of Nahuatl.

    The Voynich manuscript was discovered in an Italian monastery in 1912 by book dealer Wilfred Voynich.The writing is so bizarre, sceptics have stated the book is a hoax or that the writing is nonsense.

      Carbon dating suggests the manuscript was created between approximately 1404 and 1438, during the Italian Renaissance.

      For more, see the Daily Mail.

      Sunday, January 26, 2014

      Friday is Deadline For Masonic Week Reservations

      Friday, January 31st is the deadline for ordering meal tickets for Masonic Week in Reston, Virginia. Be sure to get your reservations in in time!

      Sunday, January 19, 2014

      3rd Intl. Conference on Freemasonry

      Freemasonry, Aesthetics and Civil Society

      On March 22, 2014, the Institute for Masonic Studies and the History Department at the University of California, Los Angeles will host the Third International Conference on Freemasonry, bringing together a panel of prominent Masonic scholars covering unique perspectives on Freemasonry, Aesthetics, and Civil Society.  You will have the opportunity to learn from renowned historians and interact with Masonic experts including Grand Master John Cooper.  Open to the public, this event seeks to educate and inspire scholars of the craft.

      This years' presentations will include:

      Humanity's Nation:  Freemasonry and German Civil Society before 1914 / Stefan-Ludwig Hoffman, PhD / Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley

      Thanks to Mozart: Cultivation and Aesthetics among Women Freemasons in Italy / Lilith Mahmud, PhD / Assistant Professor, Women's Studies and Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

      Solomon's Temple in America: Masonic Architecture, Popular Culture, and Biblical Imagery, 1865-1930 / William Moore, PhD / Associate Professor, American Material Culture, Boston University

      Native American Indian Freemasonry: From Joseph Brant to the 21st Century / Joy Porter, PhD / Professor, Indigenous History, the University of Hull (England)

      Event DetailsDate: Saturday, March 22, 2014
      Time: 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
      Location: Faculty Center at the University of California, Los Angeles

      Registration:  The registration fee for the Third International Conference is $15.  An optional catered lunch at the UCLA Faculty Club may be purchased for an additional $33.  The catered lunch must be purchased in advance.  In person, on-site registration for the conference will be available on the day of the event.

      For more information click here.

      Tuesday, December 31, 2013

      Dan Brown To Speak In Hartford, CT

      Dan Brown, who thrilled readers worldwide with "The Da Vinci Code" and whose latest novel, "Inferno," was's No. 1 seller for 2013, will appear at the The Bushnell in Hartford in conversation with WNPR radio personality John Dankosky on June 7, presented by The Mark Twain House & Museum.
      Tickets are $25 to $75 and will go on sale Friday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. for the general public and on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. for Twain House & Museum members. VIP tickets are $250 and include a pre-event reception with Brown, premium seating and a pre-signed copy of "Inferno." Brown's novels, which explore symbolism and conflicts between science and religion, have 200 million copies in print, in 52 languages.

      Thursday, December 26, 2013

      St. Louis Feast of St. John Friday December 27th

      I will be in St. Louis tomorrow for the Tuscan Lodge #360/Crestwood-Anchor Lodge # 443 Feast of St. John Festive Board at 6PM at the Missouri Athletic Club Friday evening. Cost is $65. For more information, see the Eventbrite page here. Looking forward to being there!

      Friday, December 20, 2013

      First Black Master in Kentucky

      From the Messenger Inquirer in Kentucky, Searcy voted first black Masonic master in Kentucky:

      A local lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of Kentucky, known as Freemasons, will welcome a new leader.

      Rick Searcy will become the first black master of a Freemason lodge in Kentucky and, possibly, in the Southeast, he said. He will be installed Saturday at Ensor Lodge No. 729. Seating will begin at 1 p.m., and the ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. The lodge, with 140 registered members, is at Kentucky 142 and Kentucky 144. The ceremony and dinner are free and open to the public.

      Wednesday, December 18, 2013

      Indiana Library & Museum

      I had the honor of being elected as Associate Director of the Grand Lodge of Indiana Masonic Library and Museum today. Many thanks to the Board. I'm looking forward to greater involvement in the Library & Museum this year, and we have great plans in store. First on the agenda is to purchase $1000 worth of books to help get caught up in modernizing the Library. New exhibits are coming, and new video projects are on the agenda, as well. Many thanks to Mike Brumback, our Director, and our IUPUI intern Kelby Dolan, for their hard work over the past year.

      Tuesday, December 17, 2013

      Martha's Heart Pin from GL of Maryland

      Safely tucked away in the Grand Lodge of Maryland’s museum is a true treasure—a special pin that Martha Washington gave to her husband as a token of her affection. The family tradition is that George wore this pin on the inside of his jacket for nearly 30 years while serving his beloved country.

      Gifted to the museum in 1897 by a direct descendant of Martha Washington, it is there displayed as a striking memorial to Brother Washington.

       Now YOU can own a unique piece of history! For the first time ever, the museum has issued an official reproduction—the “Martha’s Heart” pin. Crafted in the United States by master goldsmiths, and hand-enameled, these pins faithfully duplicate the priceless original. Offered in solid 14 karat gold or in sterling silver layered in 14 karat gold, the pin would become a valuable addition to your patriotic collection or as a meaningful symbol of your love and devotion. Approved by the curators of Mount Vernon for sale in their gift shop, the pin is being offered directly to Freemasons and their families at a substantial savings from the regular retail price.

       Martha’s Heart Pin in sterling silver layered with 14k gold with hand enameling $98.50 + shipping & handling.

      To order, CLICK HERE.

      Tuesday, December 10, 2013

      Wednesday at Illinois' Aurora Commandery

      I'll be speaking tomorrow night at Aurora Commandery of Knights Templar in Aurora, Illinois, at Jerusalem Temple, 710 N. Highland Avenue. Doors open at 7:00PM. Hope to see you there.

      Thursday, December 05, 2013

      CBS Sunday Morning to air segment on Freemasonry

      From my friend Piers Vaughan in New York:

      CBS Sunday Morning to air segment on Freemasonry this Sunday (December .

      CBS have just confirmed that, barring major breaking news, the story on Freemasonry by Mo Rocca will be aired this Sunday between 9:00-10:30am EST. This was put together a few months ago, and will feature members of the Grand Lodge of New York, the House of the Temple and other contributors. The intention was to present a fair and accurate view of Freemasonry, rather than the 'shock horror' interpretations aired in recent years.

      Fingers crossed.

      UPDATE: See the segment here.

      Monday, December 02, 2013

      Tuesday at Logan Lodge No. 575

      I will be speaking Tuesday evening, December 3rd, at Logan Lodge No. 575 in downtown Indianapolis. They meet on the third floor in the beautiful Ionic Room of Freemasons Hall at 525 North Illinois Street. Lodge opens at 6:30PM. I will be speaking on the strange case of Egyptian influence on Freemasonry throughout our history. I'm looking forward to being there.

      Wednesday, November 27, 2013

      Masonic Week Schedule Is Up And Running

      The tentative schedule for Masonic Week 2014 has been posted. Events begin on Wednesday, February 12 and conclude on Sunday, February 16. The host hotel is once again the Hyatt Regency Reston in Reston, VA. Unlike the former venue in Alexandria, there are many choices for breakfast, lunch, and dining within easy walking distance of the hotel. There is also shopping for the ladies.

      The Masonic Society annual meeting and banquet will be held on Friday, February 14, at 6:00 P.M. The event is open to members and non-members alike. As always, the ladies are invited to join us as well. Banquet reservation information will be posted on the website soon. Our speaker this year will be W. Bro. Robert Davis, Executive Secretary of the Scottish Rite Valley of Guthrie, OK, SJ. Bro. Davis is well known throughout the Masonic community as an author and writer. His newly published book is The Mason's Words: The History and Evolution of the American Masonic Ritual. He is among the most sought after speakers in the fraternity and is sure to deliver a message that will inspire, educate, and entertain you. Please plan to join us.

      Don't forget to stop by The Masonic Society hospitality suite, noted for our fine selection of single malt scotches and great fellowship. We'll be open on Friday and Saturday nights for certain and probably after dinner on Thursday as well. The room number will be posted in the hotel lobby and on our Facebook page.

      Event homepage:

      H/T Jim Dillman

      Monday, November 25, 2013

      New Scupltures Adorn Indiana's Ellettsville Lodge

      From "New sculptures of saints adorn Ellettsville’s Masonic lodge"
      By Rachel Bunn in the Bloomington Herald Times today:

      For years, after finishing his work as a cutter at Bybee Stone Co., Tom
      Dixon would head to a corner of the parking lot near the Ellettsville
      Masonic Lodge.

      Inside a tent, he spent nearly a decade chipping away at blocks of
      limestone, forming two figures — St. John the Baptist and St. John the
      Evangelist — that are now proudly adorning the Masonic Lodge.

      “I reached a major goal in my life to be able to do this,” Dixon said of
      the sculptures. “I think everything worked out perfectly.”

      In 2002, Dixon had just moved to town, renting an apartment near the
      Ellettsville Masonic Lodge. The lodge was expanding its historic building
      into the lot beside it, and he walked across the street to offer his help.

      “I was looking for something to do, not for money or anything,” Dixon said.

      His initial idea was to add to simple, sculpted panels to the building,
      but lodge members worried that it would leave holes in the building’s
      facade while they were being completed.

      Members came up with the sculpture idea, leaving alcoves in the side of
      the building for two statues: one of St. John the Baptist and the other of
      St. John the Evangelist, the patron saints of the Masons.

      Meeting over several Tuesdays, the Masons and Dixon developed ideas for
      the building, sketching things on napkins at times. When it came to the
      statues, it was decided that they would be large, standing at about 6 feet
      tall, just slightly smaller than Dixon himself.

      Though the Masons provided the subjects, they gave Dixon free rein over
      the style for the saints, which he choose to complete in
      Renaissance-style, with St. John the Evangelist styled after Italian
      artist Donatello’s work.

      The first drawings that Dixon made of the figures were what he worked from
      for 10 years as he painstakingly carved details of the statues, including
      the inner sleeves and lines on the palms of the figures’ hands.

      For sculptures, the tools are still the same as they were thousands of
      years ago, with Dixon forming the figures using chisels and files, though
      getting the modern aid of an air hammer. By nature, sculpting anything
      takes time, but other things kept the statues under construction while the
      rest of the building was complete.

      Work was delayed for several years when the Dixon family hit a rough
      patch. First, Dixon’s father died, then his wife, Nancy, was diagnosed
      with multiple sclerosis. And Dixon had an undiagnosed corn allergy, which
      led to coughing so much he tore the retinas in both eyes, and a ruptured
      appendix all in the span of about three years. In addition, Dixon was
      donating his time to the statues, which became scarce when Bybee had
      several large orders one summer.

      Still, he pressed on, and two weeks ago, were placed in the frames facing
      Sale Street in downtown Ellettsville.

      “Every time I drive by there, I get a royal charge out of it,” Dixon said.

      Dick Jacobs, trustee of the Ellettsville Masons, helped connect Dixon with
      the Masons a decade ago, and seemed pleased to have the statues finally
      out in the public.

      “They’re absolutely beautiful,” Jacobs said. “Tom did a nice job. We’re
      glad to have them in the position that they are in.”

      Other Masons agree. Steven Devine, worshipful master of the Ellettsville
      Masons, praised Dixon’s dedication and craftsman ship, calling the
      attention to detail in the hands of the statues “awesome.”

      “With him taking the time to do that, they came out phenomenal,” Devine said.

      The statues are the last pieces of the expanded lodge, which laid its
      cornerstone in 2004. For Devine, seeing the building in its complete state
      is a reminder of the love and dedication to the Masons in Ellettsville.

      “Anything we can do to beautify the street even more makes Ellettsville
      that more attractive,” he said.

      But for the artist, Dixon, there’s something even more special about
      seeing his work finally on display.

      Usually there is always something that you could have done better, but in
      this case, Dixon there’s nothing he would have done differently.

      “You want to do something really special — you know you can do it, you
      just want the opportunity,” Dixon said. “Now, when I die, I can die

      H/T Roger Neptune